There is a WHOLE BUNCH of New Character News for Walt Disney World this Summer. Check it Out!
Disney just released a whole bunch of amazing Character News for this summer and I AM SO EXCITED! Let’s get into it!
While still not a proper Meet and Greet (you have to head to Disneyland for those!), Mirabel will FINALLY be making an appearance in the Most Magical Place on Earth! Beginning June 26, Mirabel will be a part of the “Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade” at Magic Kingdom Park! She will be joining Miguel, from Coco, Nick and Judy, from Zootopia, Max Goof, Goofy’s son from A Goofy Movie, and more! Check the times guide for show times!
Coming This JULY!
Get HYPED for summer! Everyone’s favorite Minnie returns to Town Square Theater on July 6, where her and Mickey Mouse will once again be doling out hugs on the regular! They’ll be decked out in their EARidescent 50th Anniversary finest so you are not going to want to miss this!
As if the news of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue returning June 23 wasn’t enough excitement at the Fort, Chip ‘N Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long returns to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground on JULY 6!! Here, you’ll be able to join the nutty friends for a campfire celebration followed by a classic Disney movie under the stars.
On July 10, catch Fantasyland favorites Peter Pan and Snow White, as they once again greet guests in Magic Kingdom Park!
Star Wars Launch Bay RETURNS!!!
In perhaps, the BEST news, since this is a gigantic, unused space in Hollywood Studios, Star Wars Launch Bay is set to return on July 17! Here, fans can usually meet Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and BB-8. Pre-COVID, you were able to also bump into the likes of Boba Fett, Stormtroopers, and, occasionally, R2-D2! Plus, see artifacts and props from all 9 movies!
And There’s Still More to Come!
Disney also teased there is more to come this summer, including Donald’s Dino-Bash at Animal Kingdom; a visit to Magic Kingdom Park will bring chances to meet Aladdin, Jasmine, Merida, Pooh, Tigger and Storybook Circus pals like The Great Goofini in Pete’s Silly Sideshow; and the Toys will once again be roaming the backyard in Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios!
Everything Disney’s Polynesian Resort Has to Offer
Today, let’s take a look at one of the two original Walt Disney World Resort hotels: Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Themed after the South Pacific, the Poly is located right across the lagoon from the Magic Kingdom. It is accessible via monorail, boat, or walkway. See EXQUISITE views of Cinderella Castle and catch Magic Kingdom’s fireworks show, as well as the Electric Water Pageant. It is classified as a Deluxe Resorts and also offers DVC Villas and Bungalows.
NEW! Moana-Themed Rooms
With the re-opening of the resort on July 19, Disney unveiled their new Moana-themed rooms!! And they are SO cute! The details are subtle and tasteful, which fits into the Deluxe theme of the resort. These rooms sleep 5, featuring 2 queen beds and 1 pull-out daybed. You can reserve a Standard room (which just means you’re not particular and, for a discounted rate, you might just end up with a theme park view room by luck of the draw!), Theme Park view, lagoon view, or pool or marina view room. You can also book Club-Level rooms, that include a Club Lounge that offers food and drinks and a private concierge staff to provide a higher-level of service for a much higher price.
There are 2 table service restaurants available at Disney’s Polynesian Resort: ‘Ohana and Kona Cafe. They are both located on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House. I have already written about both restaurants so read about them here:
Capt Cooks is a quick service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can also get some grab and go items here, and mobile ordering is available.
Pop up to Kona Island, near the monorail, for coffee and pastries in the morning and a selection of sushi and mini desserts throughout the rest of the day.
If you’re after a Dole Whip (with or without rum), then you need to head down to Pineapple Lanai! The Poly also has 5 bars/lounges, and they’re all unique and spectacular!
The Poly also has 5 bars/lounges, and they’re all unique and spectacular! If you are up for the Monorail Bar Crawl, you cannot fail by choosing any single one of these bars! Read more about the bar crawl here!
Barefoot Pool Bar
Oasis Bar and Grill
Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto
Finally, the Polynesian is home to the Spirit of Aloha Luau dinner show, but that is unfortunately still unavailable. If and when it comes back, I highly recommend it! It is great fun and definitely not something you see every day!
There are two pools available to guests of the Polynesian. The Oasis Pool is just that: a quiet pool that is an Oasis. And then there is the Lava Pool.
The Lava Pool has a volcano, a waterfall, zero-depth entry, and a 142-foot long waterslide. There is also a play area for kids under 48″. There are also Oasis Patios for rent, first come first served.
Close by, you’ll find the beach. While you can no longer swim in the lagoon, you can sit on the beach, even in a hammock, if that’s your style, and the beach is a GREAT place to watch the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom and catch the Electrical Water Pageant. You can also watch Movies Under the Stars, which is usually found at every resort, and can be a fun way for kids and kids-at-heart to unwind and relax after a long day in the parks.
Boat rentals and fishing are available from the nearby Marina, as well as volleyball and a jogging trail.
BouTiki is one of my favorite shops in all of Walt Disney World. If Hawaiian Shirts are your thing, this is the place for you! Or head up to the Moana Mercantile on the second floor, where you’ll find toys, games, clothes, and snacks and drinks (including alcohol).
The best Non-Alcoholic Drinks at Walt Disney World and Where to Find Them!
I love to drink around the World, but there are some who, for whatever reason (you do you! Live your life!), cannot, will not, do not want to drink. Not only that, but Florida is very hot. Sometimes you just want something cold to drink that tastes amazing and cools you down. So, for these people, and everyone else, too, here are the best mocktails of Disney World!
Mocktails at Disney Lounges
This first one is a classic, and SO good. It also comes with rum, if you want the virgin for the kids while you imbibe the real thing! This tropical twist on the classic colada invites a thick raspberry puree into the mix. Personally, raspberries make all tropical flavors that much better, so I prefer this to the real Colada! Sip this down at various locations around Walt Disney World, including the Polynesian. Because this is the perfect drink to end the day on the beach while watching Enchantment!
Best Mocktails at Monorail Resorts
schweitzer falls – trader sam’s grog grotto, the polynesian
Yes, Trader Sam’s has great cocktails. And they also have great No-Booze Brews, too! So while you’re having the Uh-Oa or the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room, the kids or your sober companion can also enjoy a tropical beverage, like the Schweitzer Falls! Of course, this amazing mocktail is named after the great explorer good ‘ol Albert…..Falls! This is Sam’s Gorilla Grog and tropical juices topped with Sprite. So refreshing!
Mocktails in the Magic Kingdom
While you won’t find that many cocktails, the Magic Kingdom actually has a lot of the best mocktails of Disney World! Adventureland? Main St? I’m sure there’s something! Let’s check it out!
Lefou’s Brew- Gaston’s Tavern, Fantasyland
Don’t sleep on LeFou’s Brew! This vegan-friendly no-sugar-added frozen apple slush presents a hint of marshmallow flavoring and is topped with a passionfruit-mango foam. Surprisingly delicious. Amazingly refreshing. This is definitely a delicious mocktail to enjoy! Wash down your GIGANTIC cinnamon roll with LeFou’s Brew!
frozen mint julep lemonade – casey’s corner, Main St USA
Hang on, Disneylanders, we know you have the Mint Julep game under control over there in CA, but this version is a refreshing, frozen, slushified mix of mint julep perfection! Frozen Minute Maid Lemonade, topped with fresh mint leaves, cherry, and lemon. A timely reminder in the best mocktails competition that sometimes, less is more!
dole whip float – aloha isle, Adventureland
A contender that needs no introduction, it’s THE DOLE WHIP FLOAT. The classic Dole Whip, pineapple, vanilla, or swirl, topped with pineapple juice. JUST what the doctor ordered on a hot, August day in Central Florida! For the non-mocktail version, head to Pineapple Lanai or Tamu Tamu and get yours with rum!
i lava you float – sunshine tree terrace, Adventureland
That brings us to my personal favorite snack in all of Walt Disney World (I said what I said) , the I Lava You Float at Sunshine Tree Terrace. Now, hear me out: Fanta strawberry soda, passion fruit flavor served with DOLE Whip Orange, and topped with Popping Candy. TASTE BUD HEAVEN. Seriously, who would have ever thought strawberry Fanta was SO GOOD?!?!?
Checking in with another “less is more” offering in the best mocktails competition, the Sunset Boulevard at the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge. SO SIMPLE. It is tangerine and sprite, served with a glow cube. It is delicious and refreshing.
Best Mocktail in Animal Kingdom
night blossom – pongu pongu
Described as, “layers of Apple and Desert Pear Limeade topped with Passion Fruit Boba Balls,” the Night Blossom is the perfect pick-me-up in the middle of a hot day at Animal Kingdom aka the hottest of the hot theme parks! Additionally, I don’t think too many people would argue if I said this is the BEST MOCKTAIL in all of Walt Disney World!
EPCOT – Best Mocktail
The american dream – fife and drum tavern
“You look like the Fourth of July! Makes me want a hot dog REAL bad!” This patriotic non-alcoholic refreshment is perfect for washing down that hot dog, turkey leg, or Mickey pretzel! Frozen Fanta strawberry, vanilla ice cream, and frozen Fanta blue raspberry slushy! It is as good as it sounds!
So there you have it! If you are not a drinker, you are not doomed to a week of water or milk. Disney has plenty of non-alcoholic options available that are delicious, whimsical, and quite refreshing! Which one are you most excited to try?!
Walt Disney World is a magical place, where dreams and fantasy come to life, but have you ever wondered how the sausage is made? This tour is for you! On the Keys to the Kingdom Tour, you will go backstage to see how several classic attractions work, walk through the underground tunnels, known as the Utilidor, and learn the history of the Magic Kingdom.
Keys to the Kingdom – the basics
Keys to the Kingdom is an in-depth, 5-hour tour of the Magic Kingdom. Yes, you read that right: 5 hours. You were learn the amazing history of the very first gate at Walt Disney World, see how it’s grown and changed over the years, and even visit some “secret” locations, like the world notorious “Utilidor,” the underground tunnel beneath the Magic Kingdom.
This is the ultimate experience for Disney World fans! Learn the story of Walt Disney and how his vision, innovation, and creativity brought this amazing and well-loved theme park to life. You will learn about Walt’s thoughts behind designing the park, learn fun trivia that will make you the most annoying member of your next family vacation, discover hidden Mickeys and other often-overlooked details, like the poo river, and more!
Ok how do i do this?
This tour isn’t for everyone. No, I really mean that. All guests must be at least 16 years old, with a photo ID, to take part in this tour. This is obvious. Why ruin the magic for the kids? So if your group is at least 16 years old, you can make reservations up to 60 days in advance. This tour is incredibly popular, and usually sells out, so if you know you want to do this, grab reservations as soon as you’re eligible! Tours are available at 30-minute increments, and I would suggest taking the earliest tour available. Again, it is 5-hours long, so the earlier you start, the earlier it’s over, and you have more time for other activities!
Once you’ve selected your date and time, you’ll have to pay. Unfortunately, it’s not a free tour. The tour costs $114 per person, and Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members can save 15%. It is also important to note that you will also need valid park tickets AND a valid park reservation in addition to paying for your tour. BUT GUESS WHAT?! It includes lunch! So yes, you will get food during your 5-hour tour! This is a (mostly) outdoor walking tour, so you’ll want to make sure you wear good shoes and dress for the weather.
Booked! Now what?
You will need to check in at Town Square Theater at least 15 minutes in advance of your tour. If you don’t show up, or cancel less than 2 days in advance, you will not get a refund, so make ABSOLUTELY SURE you want to do this! After you’re checked in, you will receive a headset, so that you can hear all the awesome information your guide has to share with you, along with a nametag and a couple other special souvenirs to take home and keep forever!
The Magic Kingdom isn’t where you go just for the food. Its magic lies elsewhere. But you have to eat, right? So what should you do when you need a quick bite after Big Thunder Mountain? These are the best quick service restaurants in the Magic Kingdom for when you’re just too hangry to go on!
Best quick service in magic Kingdom
If you ask me, the BEST quick service restaurant is Pinocchio Village Haus, located right next to it’s a small world in Fantasyland. Serving American classics, like pizza, chicken tenders, and salads, this place is a diamond in the rough. The highlight is getting a window seat overlooking it’s a small world. If you score one of these coveted tables, make sure to wave at all the boats as the embark on the Happiest Cruise on Earth!
This is my overall number 1 favorite quick service in Magic Kingdom, because it has something for everyone, INCLUDING those with food allergies. The pizzas are GREAT for my celiac tastes. The crust is perfectly crispy, not cardboard-like, which is super hard to come by. Usually, a gluten free pizza crust is burnt and too hard for any human being to actually chew. The allergy-friendly chicken tenders are AMAZING. AND the portion sizes are big enough for people to share. My mom and I split a pizza, chicken tenders, and fries. It was the perfect amount of food for two!
best quick service seating and atmosphere
If you hate stalking people as they eat to get their table, Cosmic Ray’s is the place for you! They have TONS of seating, inside AND outside, and I have never had an issue finding a place to sit down. And if you’re looking for a place that your kids will actually eat the food AND be entertained? You’re going to want to sit by Sonny Eclipse! And finally, the food is REALLY good! Like…surprisingly good. And it’s a pleasant surprise! In fact, eating here last summer for the first time in ages, it quickly snuck up my list to be a close second to Pinocchio!
The menu is, again, American classics, like burgers, chicken strips, chili, hot dogs, and a very nice-sized allergy menu. This restaurant even offers a plant-based burger.
Best quick service restaurant that won’t go away
I say this in jest, as Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe has gone through many, many changes over the years. It used to be burgers with an all-you-can-eat toppings bar, which, don’t get me wrong, was completely awesome, but in 2015, Pecos Bill went through a change from burgers to burritos! Seeing as how this restaurant is located in Frontierland, representing the American Old West, this seems like the absolute perfect place to have a Mexican restaurant (aside from, you know, Mexico).
In its current iteration, you can get everything from fajitas, to nachos, to rice bowls, to salads, and even burgers. The worst part about this location is finding a seat, but the current protocols, which I, personally, hope they continue forever, will only let you into the restaurant if you have an order. This makes seating a little easier to find. And, like I said, I hope it lasts forever! Again, this place has something for everybody, including plant-based options, kid-friendly foods like burgers and mac & cheese, and a robust allergy-friendly menu.
Best Quick Service with Secret Seating
There’s not REALLY secret seating, people just tend to not go up there. I don’t know, I don’t make the rules. Anyway, this Liberty Square staple is New England-themed, with seafood, chicken, and sandwiches. Sit upstairs. Maybe even take a lil nap. You’ve earned it.
best quick service that finally got mobile ordering
DO NOT FRET, gluten-eaters! I have not forgotten you! While I, personally, cannot eat here, I recognize this place is the absolute best. Just LOOK at that waffle! I make it myself at home, and it is truly delicious! And now that they have mobile ordering, it’s a game changer. That means the lines are much shorter and you won’t suffer waiting for this delicious waffle for breakfast! Unfortunately, food allergy friends should avoid this place, but for everyone else, MOBILE ORDER IMMEDIATELY!!!
Did you favorite make the list? If not, what is YOUR go-to quick service restaurant in the Magic Kingdom?
Great news for fans looking to add some special Disney touches to their Walt Disney World vacation in 2022! Enchanting Extras tours will be returning February 6, 2022, and you can book them now! Advanced reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance, and, while they are not required, these tours sell out frequently, so if these are something you really want to do, you should make the reservation!! These tours are phenomenal and I am more than happy to recommend the best one for your party!
Keys to the Kingdom
This magical, five-hour tour of Magic Kingdom Park is for guests ages 16 and up, and is currently priced at $114 per person. And it does include lunch! This tour unlocks the history of the Magic Kingdom and grants backstage access to LEGENDARY hidden areas, including the fabled “Utilidor” tunnel system! You will also learn the secrets behind some of your favorite attractions!
Caring for Giants
In this 60-minute tour at Animal Kingdom Park, you will learn all about the African Elephants! For guests ages 4 and up, this tour is currently priced at $35 per person.
You will get a knowledgeable guide who will give you a glimpse into the day-to-day care of the elephants of Animal Kingdom. You will get to observe the elephants from a private viewing area around 80-100 feet away, while you learn about conservation and preservation.
Up Close with Rhinos
Much like Caring for Giants, this 60-minute tour is for guests ages 4 and up, at $45 per person, only substitute Rhinos!
Savor the Savanna
This premium tour, for guests ages 8 and up, offers sights and tastes of Africa. Your private tour starts with a private safari on the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. While on your savanna tour, you will be able to enjoy African cuisine, paired with beer and wine! Pricing is $174 per person.
Wild Africa Trek
This Animal Safari at Animal Kingdom Park is NEXT LEVEL! aThis 3-hour safari tour is for ages 8 and up, and costs $199 per person. Participants must be at least 48 inches tall, and weigh between 45
and 300 pounds with the harness gear on. It is recommended that participants have physical stamina, comfort with heights, and the ability to traverse small hills, foliage, and an unsteady rope bridge. You will cross a swinging rope bridge near crocodiles, view towering giraffes, powerful rhinos, and hippos, and ride across an open savanna. An African-inspired meal is included.
Park admission and park reservations are required for both Magic Kingdom Park and Animal Kingdom Park, and are not included in the price of these tours.
Ready to book your vacation and add these incredible tours? Contact me today!
Do you like Thanksgiving food? Do you like all-you-can-eat? Liberty Tree Tavern is where YOU want to be!
Everyone has a favorite, and my favorite restaurant at Walt Disney World is Liberty Tree Tavern. From the Colonial America theming to the all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving Dinner, I cannot get enough of this place. Let’s take an in-depth look at this classic Magic Kingdom restaurant.
Location and Theming: Absolute Perfection
Liberty Tree Tavern is located across from the riverboat in Liberty Square and it is themed as Colonial America. Enjoy 6 rooms, each themed to an historical American figure. The dining rooms are Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross, George Washington, John Paul Jones, Thomas Jefferson, and Paul Revere. Each room has fireplaces or wood paneling or other artifacts inspired by its host. Be sure to take the opportunity to look around the room you are dining in to see the detail that only Imagineers can master.
Liberty Tree Tavern used to feature character dining, with Mickey, Pluto, Goofy, Chip and Dale, etc would be dressed in their Colonial finest, but, alas, that has gone by the wayside. (Please, Disney, bring back the characters!)
Keeping with the colonial theming, you will dine on a traditional all-American Thanksgiving dinner. Because of this, the menu is all family-style and all-you-can-eat! Each table will start out with a delicious salad and rolls, then you will receive your Patriot’s Platter, which has turkey, pot roast, and pork, mashed potatoes, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, vegetables, and cranberry sauce. Then, you’ll wrap up with the second most popular dessert at Walt Disney World: ooey gooey toffee cake!
Liberty Tree Tavern for Vegans/Vegetarians? YES!
Disney has done a lot to make plant-based diets part of their mainstream menus, providing a much more inclusive atmosphere for all types of diners! As a result, this traditional American restaurant also has a plant-based menu, so even your vegan and vegetarian friends can dine with you!
Liberty Tree Tavern for Food Allergies
Liberty Tree Tavern will gladly accommodate food allergies, too! And the food allergy offerings have gotten SO MUCH better over the years! For example, they even offer things like gluten free macaroni and cheese, stuffing, and cranberry sauce! This dining location has safe dining options for everyone! With food allergy dining, it is always important to consult a cast member and/or chef to make sure your food allergy options and needs are clearly communicated, then sit back, relax, and enjoy your meal!
This is my favorite, and one of my family’s favorite, places to eat, and we go nearly every single trip. We truly love when they welcome us from the Territory of Ohio! Have you had the pleasure of dining here? What did you think?! Ready to book your trip? Contact me today!!
All the BEST Restaurants to Visit for Your Date Night Dinner at Walt Disney World!
So you’re at Disney World, either with your kids or without your kids or you don’t have kids, whatever the situation, it’s just you and your special someone. And you want to have a date night. It’s not a lost cause, because Disney is NOT just for kids! There are plenty of great options for date night dinners!
However, what do you do with your kids? Now, for parents traveling with extended family, like grandparents or aunts and uncles, you may not think twice about going out for a dinner just yourselves. But not everyone has that option. FEAR NOT! Try Kids Nite Out!
But back to why you’re here, THE FOOD! Here are some of the best restaurants for date night at Walt Disney World!
High-End, Fine and Signature Dining
Believe it or not, there are restaurants at Walt Disney World that are so fancy they actually have dress codes and age limits. So we’ll start there!
The California Grill – Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Located on the 15th floor of the Contemporary, and accessed via private elevator, this is by far the most popular of date night dinners. It’s probably the view of the Magic Kingdom and the fireworks. While not personally my cup of tea, I can absolutely understand the appeal.
The cuisine is California-themed and they also feature over 300 wines, most from California, for guests 21 and over. This is a hard-to-get reservation, so be prepared. You MIGHT not get one! But don’t give up! People cancel reservations all the time. Also, there is a dress code. Learn more about Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
Victoria & Albert’s – The Grand Floridian
Coming back with a brand new look and delicious new menu, Victoria & Albert’s, at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, is the fanciest of fancy locations for your date night dinner.
It is incredibly expensive (like $295 per person expensive), hard to get into (and there is a $100 cancellation fee if you cancel within 5 days of your reservation), and it has a formal/semi-formal dress code. Despite ALL of this, it is completely popular. Advanced Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance, and you’re going to need them!
Narcoosee’s – Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
Located on the “coast” of the Grand Floridian, this surf-and-turf specialty restaurant offers spectacular views of Disney’s Enchantment, but with a romantic seaside setting. Featuring not only fresh seafood from local sources and around the world, but also land fare, like filet mignon.
This is another hard-to-get reservation and another location with a dress code.
Signature Dining for Regular People
If you’re looking for a date night dinner that won’t break the bank or require you to pack a ballgown, there are plenty of amazing options available to you!
The Boathouse – Disney Springs
A night at Disney Springs deserves a stop at the Boathouse. The great food and drinks are tough to beat. This is an incredibly popular restaurant so reservations are a must! I make absolutely no secret that this is one of my favorite restaurants in all of Walt Disney World. Absolutely love it.
Additionally, being in Disney Springs adds to the Date Night milieu! Want to cap the date night with an unforgettable event? Take a ride in an Amphicar or take flight in the Aerophile!
Le Cellier – EPCOT, World Showcase
Located in the Canada Pavilion in EPCOT, this is for SURE one of my personal favorites, if only for the maple creme brulee. Le Cellier specializes in regional Canadian cuisine, including steaks, fresh seafood, cheesy poutine, and Canadian beer. Oh, and delicious creme brulee. Did I mention the creme brulee?
It should come as no surprise when I say, reservations are incredibly hard to get. But it is totally worth it. Can’t get a reservation? Guess what? It’s time for Food & Wine, so get the filet at the Canada booth!
Sanaa is located at Animal Kingdom Lodge and offers African and Indian cooking with a view of the animals on the Savannah. People FLOCK here (get it?) just for the bread service. Enjoy the animals grazing the savannah prior to your reservation time, as an added bonus to your date night dinner!
Sanaa is great for all diets, but it is also a favorite stop for vegans and vegetarians. It is a family-friendly restaurant but there is a personal, romantic feeling to the dining area, especially at night.
Chefs De France – EPCOT, World Showcase
Time to head back to World Showcase to dine in the France Pavilion at Chefs De France. Dine on seasonal French Cuisine and sip on the Imported French Wines and Champagne! Don’t forget to finish off with the creme brulee or the tarte au chocolat! With the Eiffel Tower, it’s quite the romantic date night dinner setting!
The Hollywood Brown Derby – Hollywood Studios, Hollywood Boulevard
If your date night includes a trip to Batuu, make sure to first dine at the Hollywood Brown Derby. Inspired by the original Brown Derby, you will dine on California cuisine! Try the famous Cobb Salad, named after the original owner of the Brown Derby, Bob Cobb, or the absolutely AMAZING burger, and finish up with the grapefruit sponge cake!
Tiffins – Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Does your date night involve visiting Pandora? Tiffins is the place for you! Inspired by Africa and Asia, this dining location offers a delicious stop with great food and great views. Tiffins is another location known for it’s bread service, but if you can’t get into the restaurant for your date night dinner, try Nomad Lounge, located right next door, instead!
La Hacienda de San Angel – EPCOT, World Showcase
Want to cap a night at EPCOT with a front-row seat for the all-new Harmonious? Try to get a reservation about an hour and a half before the scheduled fireworks show at La Hacienda and ask to sit at the windows! Located in the Mexico Pavilion on the waterfront, this delicious Mexican restaurant is PERFECT for your date night dinners!
Everyone is excited that fireworks are back!! I know that I cannot WAIT to see them in person again. First things first, they’re gonna be packed. We went nearly 500 days without them, and people are happy to embrace some shred of normalcy returning. Not to mention there will be TWO new fireworks shows beginning October 1, 2021: HarmonioUS in EPCOT and Disney Enchantment in Magic Kingdom. Everyone will be there.
Let’s start with the obvious:
BEST VIEWING SPOTS IN MAGIC KINGDOM
Once upon a time, you could watch fireworks from anywhere in the park. Now, though, you need to be able to see the castle if you want to see the projections. If this is your first visit, you do NOT want to miss the projections. If you want a close-up view of projections with a mildly obstructed view of the pyro, go directly to the front of the castle. Don’t pass go, don’t collect $200, all of that. And get there early.
If you want to get out of the Magic Kingdom early and beat the rush, your best bet is to watch the fireworks from the flag pole in front of the train station. Make sure you can see the castle, though, or you will miss the projections. Then, as soon as Tink flies, gather your stuff and head to the exit, or else you will be in the sea of humanity.
The best place to get the perfect combination of pyro and projections is right in the center of the Hub from the Partners Statue back to the front of Casey’s/The Plaza. Wanna win the lottery? If you manage to score a table at Casey’s or the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, guard it with your life! Another PERFECT location is the porch at Crystal Palace. Again, though, you will need to get there super early to score these locations. They are extremely limited and they will fill up fast.
Honorable mention spots inside Magic Kingdom: Bathrooms outside of Pinocchio Village Haus, Frontierland, Dumbo (while riding), Adventureland bridge.
BEST PLACES TO VIEW FIREWORKS OUTSIDE OF MAGIC KINGDOM
Wanna beat the crowds but still catch the fireworks? Stand on the ferry dock at the Transportation and Ticket Center. You have a perfect view of the Magic Kingdom and the music is piped in so you will only miss the details of the projections.
The Contemporary Obviously, the high price tag for the Theme Park View rooms means you can watch the fireworks directly from your balcony. If you book a reservation at the California Grill, you can watch from your table OR the observation deck (and this counts for any meal, just show your receipt). You can also have a pretty great view from the walkway between the Contemporary and Bay Lake Tower.
The Grand Floridian Grab a late dinner reservation at Narcoosee’s for a great meal with a great view. You can also head out to the beach and the marina for a great view.
The Polynesian So many options! First, you could grab a Dole Whip or a Lapu Lapu (or both! YOLO!) and head to the beach! Not an outdoorsy type? Get a dinner reservation at ‘Ohana and watch while you eat! Or head to Trader Sam’s (whenever it reopens) and enjoy the show with a great cocktail.
Fort Wilderness You can watch the fireworks AND Electrical Water Pageant from the beach at Fort Wilderness. It is far away, but you will still see it!
BEST VIEWING SPOTS IN EPCOT
Yes, EPCOT Forever! Is back until October 1, when we will FINALLY see HarmoniUS! Where should you go?
Naturally, the best spot is the hardest to get: the patio at Rose and Crown. It is so popular and so hard to get that Disney instituted a rule that you may wait ONLY one hour, then you either take the table offered or you can dine elsewhere. Make a reservation for 7:30-7:45, arrive about 15 minutes early, and tell the hosts you’re willing to wait the hour allotted for a fireworks view table.
You should also note that the patio stretches around the building, so while you can see the fireworks from the side patio, the BACK patio is where the best views are. So best of luck!
La Hacienda de San Angel Located in Mexico, La Hacienda is right up on the water with massive windows, offering magnificent views of the fireworks. Again, this will require patience and luck! Make that 7:30 reservation, arrive 20 minutes early, and tell them you’re willing to wait for a fireworks-view seat!
Tokyo Dining This is still a “hidden gem” so to speak, so if you like sushi and sake, this may be your best bet!
Germany, UK-to-France Bridge, Italy Isola, Mexico, Mitsukoshi Department Store second level, anywhere around World Showcase Lagoon with an unobstructed view of the water.
BEST PLACES TO VIEW EPCOT FOREVER OUTSIDE OF EPCOT
The Boardwalk Over towards Jellyrolls OR the bridge between Boardwalk and Beach Club. Honorable mention to the bridge towards Swan and Dolphin.
The Riviera If you are lucky enough to dine at Topolino’s, you should be able to see them from the outside lounge.
The Skyliner This takes some planning, but riding the Skyliner can offer some AMAZING views!
Beach Club The beach at Beach Club has some great views of the higher fireworks.
Read Why Skipper Canteen Is the Best Disney Restaurant You’ve Probably Never Been To!
Let’s talk about Skipper Canteen, serving World Famous Jungle Cuisine. If you’re a fan of the Jungle Cruise, this restaurant is right up your alley. The space itself has existed at Walt Disney World since it opened in 1971. It was originally a counter service restaurant until 1994. It served as Pixie Hollow for a bit, where you could meet Tinkerbell and Friends, but in 2014, it began it’s switch over to Skipper Canteen, and Tinkerbell relocated to Town Square Theater. The Veranda space above Skipper Canteen is part of the uber expensive Club 33 restaurant.
The Origin Story
Originally the Adventureland Veranda, Skipper Canteen was announced in 2015 at the D23 Expo. It was originally the home of Dr. Albert Falls. You may have heard of him. He discovered the backside of water at Schweitzer Falls. He had a secret meeting space hidden behind his library for the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. In 1911, he started the Jungle Navigation Company, to improve moving cargo down jungle waters. When he vanished, his granddaughter, Alberta, took over. Sadly, the company failed. In 1931, she launched the world famous Jungle Cruise, and the rest is history.
Skipper Canteen today
The headquarters originally served as the Skippers’ base, and the Skippers all relaxed there when they weren’t taking passengers out on cruises. Eventually Alberta opened the restaurant up to passengers, too, though the crew does still meet there. As you can tell, this is another immersive story, and we all know how much I love stories!!! There are 3 dining spaces, with the largest being the Crew Mess Hall.
The Crew Mess Hall is where you will find the Skipper’s offices. You will find an office, of course, for Albert and Alberta, but there are 3 other offices. They are up on the second floor.
You will see Skipper Marc, a nod to Imagineer Marc Davis, who designed the bathing elephants, as well as The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Country Bear Jamboree. Then there is a door for Skipper Bill, or Morgan “Bill” Evans, who designed the horticulture of the Jungle Cruise, as well as how to clear the orange grove and build a little place called Disneyland.
Finally, there is a door for Skipper Harper, a reference to Harper Goff, who designed special effects, as well as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Speaking of 20,000 Leagues and Harper Goff, have you ever noticed the sign by the Little Mermaid ride, where the submarine voyage used to reside?
Disney is full of these magical little Easter Eggs!! A few more Easter Eggs in the Mess Hall include the voice of the Dreamfinder asking where he can park his flying machine, a letter on the Crew’s bulletin board addressed to Rosita in the Tiki Room (it was returned, though, because she is apparently gone), a message on the bulletin board from the Merry Time Traders advertising a Plaza Swan Boat for sale, second hand. There are so many more, go look around!!!
Tie-Ins to The Society of Explorers and Adventurers
As you walk through the mess hall, you will come across the library, with the not-so-secret access to the S.E.A. Room. The books on the bookshelf ALL have references to Adventureland, S.E.A. Members, or jokes. You will find The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling tipped forward, indicating this was likely the book that gained entry to the secret passage. The S.E.A. room itself is a much more posh dining room, FULL of S.E.A. artifacts and definitely worth the time to walk around and explore.
Some books in the library: Native Orange Birds of the Southeastern United States (reference to the Orange Bird next door at Sunshine Tree Terrace), Songs of the Tiki Bird by Prof Boag (Wally Boag voiced Jose in the Tiki Room), Crooning Flowers By Sherman and Sherman (the Sherman Brothers wrote the Tiki Bird Song, where the birds sing words and the flowers croon), and many, many more. Seriously, this is SO COOL! You should definitely take the time to look around at the books! In the last room, that Falls Family Parlor, you will find Falls Family heirlooms and a chandelier that looks an awful lot like the tiki birds.
NOW FOR THE FOOD! The menu has been scaled down significantly since the reopening. This is the case with many restaurants right now, so I highly suggest going online and looking at the current menus. Skipper Canteen does accept advance dining reservations, and they are highly recommended.
Even the food pays homage to S.E.A.! This is seriously my favorite backstory in all of Disney, sorry not sorry!! So the food is kinda-sorta southeast Asian inspired, I guess you could say.
You could start out with the Falls Family Falafel and then have the Tastes Like Chicken Because It Is! Finish it all off with the KUNGALOOSH! (Kungaloosh, of course, being the secret greeting of the Adventurer’s Club. The Perkins Thai Noodles is named after Pamelia Perkins, the President of the Adventurer’s Club.
Don’t forget to look for this container being ready to be shipped out. It, naturally, contains the backside of water. Have you dined at the Skipper Canteen? If you’d like to read more about the Society of Explorers and Adventurers, visit Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 here!